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Gay Dating Tactics: Your First-Date Do’s & Don’ts
There is nothing as heart-pounding as the nervous anticipation that accompanies going out on a first date with a man. Whether it’s a blind date or someone you already know, the first meeting with a potential prospect is accompanied by a multitude of emotions, more generally a mixture of excitement and nervousness. As the pivotal moment approaches, thoughts may center on questions like, “Will I like it?” “Will I like it?” “Is it going to be The One?” “What if you screw things up and make a fool of me?” “What will I talk about? What if I run out of things to say?”
Everyone’s experience is different, but the one common denominator that most daters attest to is that it can be difficult to navigate the man-to-man waters. Although that has changed, we gays have few role models to emulate when it comes to love and romance. There is no role model to follow and we have never been taught how to flirt and date other men. There are no rules, no structure, no guidance. How do two men join in the “courtesy dance?” While the lack of rules for gay dating can be a positive thing, lending more creativity, spontaneity and individuality, it can also create anxiety and a sense of “cluelessness” in terms of meeting and dating successfully – like a car. without a driver.
This article will offer some advice on how to approach your first date with the lucky one you have chosen to know in sequence the occurrence of that date. While these aren’t “rules,” these ideas can offer a means to ground yourself and make the most of the experience without sabotaging it before it gets off the ground. Pick and choose the ones that seem right for you and create your own principles as a means of being a healthy dater who lives with integrity and follows his values.
Before the Date
·When setting a time and place for your date, be sure to keep the meeting short (1-2 hours) for the first time and select a location that is activity-oriented or allows plenty of opportunities to talk. Avoid the movies and instead opt for a short meeting at a cafe or the zoo. Making it short takes a lot of pressure off, especially if you find that the two of you are not compatible, and allows a healthy pace of your dating relationship. You can always extend the date if you are well known.
· Take the focus off being a date and instead see it as a chance to meet a potential new friend. This can help you “take advantage” and allow you to relax without focusing on the outcome of the date. Avoid placing too many hopes and expectations on the encounter; let it evolve naturally and if a spark ignites during your time together, then that’s an added bonus!
· If you are particularly nervous, take some time to do some relaxation exercises (deep breathing, visualization, etc.) to help you calm down and be centered. If you are worried about what to talk about, generate a list of possible ideas in advance and do a role with a friend to build confidence. But don’t rely too much on it or you’ll come across as stiff and tried. Be cool and be yourself. It’s not about performance.
·Dress comfortably and in clothes that make you feel good about yourself. Make sure you and your date are on the same page about the dress style for your date. On my own date day, I showed up for a second date in a nice oxford shirt and jeans to find my other half dressed to the nines in a French dress that didn’t fulfill her intentions for the evening. He gave us a very embarrassing moment and canceled the reservations he had made for us for dinner at a refined and refined establishment. He then changed into more casual clothes and took me to a family restaurant instead. Oh! His image of me changed instantly and he stopped seeing me after that. It did us both a favor to end things, but at the time it was pretty humiliating. So be clear to avoid any miscommunication.
During the Date
· Be punctual and relaxed. No matter how attracted you may be to the man in front of you, it’s your responsibility to be yourself – avoid trying to put on a facade and be someone you’re not to try to impress your date . Be great as you are. Let him know the real you; otherwise, you are engaging in a form of deception that only comes back to bite you later. Be authentic and eventually you will be rewarded with a truly compatible partner.
· Be careful with your date. Show respect by maintaining good eye contact and don’t let those eyes wander if there are other attractive men in the room. Have an open attitude and let your non-verbal communication and body language convey interest in learning about your date. Stay out of your own head and close those distracting thoughts; really listen to what he says. Balance active listening with sharing things about yourself. Ask open-ended questions to get more elaboration on the points made in your discussion to extend the conversations and learn more about your date. This is especially effective if you feel shy or have few things to say because it makes the other person talk more, which allows for more tidbits that you can start other dialogues with. Be positive and let your sense of humor shine through.
· Avoid controversial topics of discussion as these may be offensive to your date. You can ease into these the more you know him. Avoid alcohol, because this can change your behavior, and stay away from sexual content and innuendo. Unless sex is the motivation for your date, introducing sexual talk on your first date can set the tone in an inappropriate direction. Discussions about sex and sexual preferences can come later after you have been able to establish more of a genuine and mature connection. Questions like “Are you a top or a bottom?” can appear crass at a first meeting and can cause an unfavorable impression of you to form in your mind of date and image of you.
After the Date
· Whether your date was a smash hit or a disaster, practice good manners and thank your new acquaintance for the date. If you want to see him again, state this and call in a day or so to ask again. Don’t get caught up in the whole dating game of “How long should I wait to call to avoid looking desperate?” or “I’m going to let him be the one who calls me.” If you like it, take your life and make that call. If you have not felt a “love connection” with the guy, thank him for the date and kindly and tactfully tell him that he is not a match. While this can be very difficult, it is always best to be honest and direct in a kind and polite manner. If you want to try to develop a friendship instead, I suggest that. But be honest and direct and don’t tell him you’ll call him again if you really don’t intend to. It’s cruel.
·Do some de-briefing after your date and reflect on your conduct, as well as your date, and perhaps journal about the experience. How are you feeling? How did you handle yourself during the date? What did you change? What went well? What did you learn about yourself as a result of this date? How do you rate the date and the guy you met? From what you can tell so far, is there compatibility with your personal needs and vision for a life partner? Does it match your needs, desires, goals and values so far?
Dating can be an unfortunate and daunting task, especially with the absence of dating education available to us as gay men. What traditions and roles that our heterosexual counterparts have for dating are applicable to us, if any? What should we do?
The key is to have fun with dating and take a light approach. Dating is both an art and a science in my belief, combining common sense decision-making with self-awareness of what one wants and needs for a happy and fulfilling lifestyle. When your dating behavior is in alignment with your values and vision for a relationship, you live with integrity and will be able to approach all your dates with a more relaxed tone and confidence. It will make the process much easier and more rewarding. Cheers to your dating success!
©2005 Brian L. Rzepczynski
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Brian Rzepczynski, Certified Personal Life Coach, is The Gay Love Coach: “I work with gay men who are ready to create a road that leads them to find and build a lasting partnership with Mr. Right.” To sign up for Gay Love Coach’s FREE Newsletter full of dating and relationship advice and skills for gay singles and couples, as well as to check out current coaching groups, programs and teleclasses, visit. www.TheGayLoveCoach.com.
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